Tagged: wall street journal Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 12:30:50 on 2019-03-02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Social Solutions, Date Decisions, and Prompt Payments 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I work for an investment banking firm where 90% of the employees are men. I’m the only woman on my team, and ever since I joined, my teammates have treated me like the office plant. They make lunch plans without including me and say hello and goodbye to everyone except me. Generally, they pretend I don’t exist. I don’t think they are doing it to be hurtful—I just think they’re not sure how to befriend women. What can I do to change this?

    —Jamie 

    Social isolation is difficult and painful, and I’m very sorry about your experience. Sadly, it is difficult to change the social norms of an entire group at once. An easier path would be to change the behavior of one colleague at a time; direct interactions will help them to see you as a whole person. Why don’t you try to invite one of your co-workers for coffee or lunch every week? In time, this will change the overall atmosphere in the office.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    Every time I suggest an idea for a date, my husband questions whether I’ve picked the very best option. For instance, I once suggested that we dine at the Thai restaurant down the street. Instead, he perused Zagat until he found a “better” option. And a month ago, I suggested we go on a cruise using a company my friends like, but he insisted on researching alternative companies before committing. We still haven’t made any firm plans.

    From my standpoint, I’d rather make a “good enough” decision and enjoy the experience, however imperfect. My husband points out that his research often yields objectively better decisions. Who’s right?

    —Caroline 

    In social science terminology your husband is a “maximizer” (someone who tries to make the best possible decision), and you are a “satisficer” (someone who tries to choose from within a range of good options). Lucky for you, the research suggests that your strategy is the right one.

    The psychologist Barry Schwartz and colleagues did a study in 2002 comparing the two types of decision-makers. They found that maximizers had lower levels of optimism, happiness, self-esteem and even life satisfaction. They were also less happy with their daily decisions, and they tended to regret the decisions they made more often. So while your husband may indeed be finding the best-rated restaurant, movie or cruise, in the process he’s probably taking away a lot of his and your joy.

    Here’s what I’d suggest: Instead of making date decisions together, take turns being in charge. That way, half the dates will go smoothly—and in the other half, you will get to practice your patience.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I’m a scientist, and I recently volunteered to be part of my professional society’s membership committee. What is the most effective way to get people to pay their membership dues? Reminders? Guilt? Calling them up and begging them?

    —Stephanie 

    My guess is that your members are generally interested in staying members, but they just don’t want to pay “right now”—whether that means today, tomorrow or the next day. To fight this kind of procrastination, I would make it more tempting to pay now. For instance, host an attractive webinar that is open to paying members only. That would give your members a good reason to pay promptly.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:30:19 on 2019-02-16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Tardy Travels, Past Prejudices, and Dangerous Drivers 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi Dan,

    I am a frequent flier and I often have to deal with annoying delays, which can seriously affect my mood. What can I do to get less upset when a plane is late?

    —Hailey 

    Our happiness is largely influenced by our expectations; in the case of flying, that means our expected departure and arrival times. My friend Ory was once booked on a flight whose take-off was delayed for seven hours, leaving all the passengers upset and complaining. But when the flight attendants announced that the delay would actually only be five hours, people cheered: compared to what they were expecting, a five hour delay seemed like a good deal. So the next time you take a flight, add two hours to the expected length of the trip and write down the later arrival time in your calendar. If the delay ends up being less than two hours, you’ll be happy.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    Can behavioral economics teach us anything about Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal? I’d like to think I would never have worn offensive makeup, or done even worse things like owning slaves or joining the KKK. But how do I know what I might have done if I lived in another time and place? I don’t think I am a racist, but in a different society, would I too behave as a racist?

    —Will 

    One of the fathers of social psychology, Kurt Lewin, posited that behavior is always a function of two inputs: the person and the environment. Acts of racism, sexism and other types of harm usually don’t originate from a few “bad apples,” but from cultures that explicitly or implicitly support such acts. So while we shouldn’t excuse acts of hate, we certainly need to recognize the systemic forces that shape what we consider normal or acceptable. Ending racism is not just about getting individuals to change, but understanding how our environment and institutions uphold prejudice in both obvious and subtle ways.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    My grandfather is a bad driver. Everyone in the family knows this, but we have accepted it as a fact of life. Recently, I asked him to drive more carefully, while emphasizing that I really care about him. He told me that I have nothing to worry about, since he is an excellent driver! What can I do to make him drive more carefully?

    —Limor 

    Driving is the classic example of “the better than average” effect: almost everyone thinks that they are better than average drivers. This means that trying to convince your grandfather that he’s a bad driver is going to be difficult. Instead, I would start by trying to help focus his attention on the road and not on other things. First, try to get him to stop using his phone while he’s driving. You could also get him a GPS device that speaks directions out loud, so that he won’t have consult a phone or written directions when he’s driving. Finally, to encourage him to drive less, you or other family members could volunteer to drive him from time to time, or introduce him to one of the available taxi apps.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:33:30 on 2019-02-02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Dishonest Domains, Warm Rewards, and Sweet Celebrations 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I recently found out that a friend of mine has been having an affair behind her husband’s back for the past four years. She seemed like a person of high integrity to me, but now I’m worried that if she could be so dishonest with her husband, maybe she is also dishonest with me. If a person lies in one area of life, does that make them more likely to lie in general?

    —James 

    The good news for you is that dishonesty in one area of life—such as work or relationships—doesn’t necessarily predict dishonesty in other areas of life. My colleagues and I published a working paper on this topic in 2018, in which we asked participants about their propensity to be dishonest across eight different domains. We found that most people had different standards for moral behavior in different areas of their life. Cheating on financial reports in the office, for instance, did not predict cheating in a poker game with friends.

    But being dishonest in one particular area of life did predict other immoral behavior in that same area. With that in mind, I would be careful about getting into a romantic entanglement with your friend.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I read that Denmark’s Environmental Protection Agency is offering Danish citizens a $300 reward to scrap their old wood-burning stove and buy a new wood burning stove, in order to reduce particle pollution and improve air quality. But I think people should be willing to take such measures without being paid for it, for the sake of the common good and the longevity of the planet. Do you believe people need a financial incentive to help the environment?

    —Esben 

    In this particular case, I think an appeal to the common good would be more effective than payment. By offering citizens cash to replace their stoves, Denmark is encouraging them to think about their decision in financial terms. This means they will ask questions about the cost and efficiency of a new stove and wonder whether it is worth the investment. With only $300 in the balance, a cost-benefit analysis is likely to lead people not to replace the stove.

    On the other hand, if the appeal was made on moral grounds, people would have to think about what matters to society and what their duties are as citizens. In that case, the odds of making the change might be higher. Of course, if the government were offering a more substantial amount of money, say $1,000, that would change people’s calculations, but a token payment of $300 is likely to be less effective than offering no money at all.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I will be moving to a new state after living in the same city for more than 50 years. How should I handle this transition?

    —Warren 

    This move will be a major change in your life, and the best thing for you is to acknowledge this and celebrate it. To do this, why don’t you throw a party for your friends and family to celebrate the time you’ve spent together. You can ask each guest to write you a piece of advice about how to create a new life in your new city. That way, the letters will both remind you of your old friends and, if their advice is any good, also help propel you into your new phase. Let the adventures begin.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:38:19 on 2019-01-23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Communal Coding, Long-Term Love, and Toddler Trouble 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    At work we have a large code base—all the source codes for our computer programs—and it’s managed by many teams around the world. We need to migrate the code base to a new version of our programming language. The expected benefits are huge, but everyone is procrastinating. What would you do to motivate people, apart from just setting a deadline?

    —Alex 

    Procrastination happens because there is an asymmetry between the costs that you have to pay now and the rewards you expect in the future. While the benefits of a distant goal—in this case, a better programming language—might be huge, they feel less salient when we have to do something difficult right now—such as working on the migration process.

    So I would try to make the current experience more rewarding and fun. For instance, try setting up a happy hour: Every day from 2-4pm, everyone can write code together and then celebrate by having a beer together (or kombucha, depending on your company) to celebrate your progress. This approach can make the experience more communal and enjoyable.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    Is aiming for a long-term commitment in romantic relationships really a good thing? Given that the divorce rate is about 50%, wouldn’t it be better for me to approach relationships expecting them to be short-lived, so I won’t be disappointed if things don’t work out?

    —Joseph 

    Love is one of the areas where prophecies tend to be self-fulfilling. If you approach relationships expecting them not to last, they probably won’t—and vice versa. Relationships aren’t static and they reflect what we invest in them.

    Imagine that you made a deal with your landlord that your lease would be day-to-day. How much time and money would you invest in your home? Would you paint the walls or fix a leaky faucet? Most likely you wouldn’t, and so your pleasure in your home would be limited at best.

    Similarly, if every day you wake up next to your romantic partner and ask yourself, “Should we do this for another day or stop now?” your relationship probably won’t deepen very much. It makes sense to think about the long term, since that is the only way to reap the benefits of commitment.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    Our new downstairs neighbor in our apartment building is bothered by the sound of our toddler son walking on the floors. He keeps banging on his ceiling and walls in an attempt to make us aware of how annoying the noise is. What can we do to make him stop harassing us? We cannot move, and I cannot keep my son from walking on the floors during the daytime.

    —Shannon 

    First, you should invest in some rugs to help reduce the noise. Then you can write to your neighbor and tell him about the effort you’ve made. Finally, invite him over for dinner; this will establish a sense of friendship and make him think twice before pounding on the walls. And be sure to serve alcohol during the dinner, as a way to break the ice and to make everyone friendlier.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:38:19 on 2019-01-23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Communal Coding, Long-Term Love, and Toddler Trouble 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    At work we have a large code base—all the source codes for our computer programs—and it’s managed by many teams around the world. We need to migrate the code base to a new version of our programming language. The expected benefits are huge, but everyone is procrastinating. What would you do to motivate people, apart from just setting a deadline?

    —Alex 

    Procrastination happens because there is an asymmetry between the costs that you have to pay now and the rewards you expect in the future. While the benefits of a distant goal—in this case, a better programming language—might be huge, they feel less salient when we have to do something difficult right now—such as working on the migration process.

    So I would try to make the current experience more rewarding and fun. For instance, try setting up a happy hour: Every day from 2-4pm, everyone can write code together and then celebrate by having a beer together (or kombucha, depending on your company) to celebrate your progress. This approach can make the experience more communal and enjoyable.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    Is aiming for a long-term commitment in romantic relationships really a good thing? Given that the divorce rate is about 50%, wouldn’t it be better for me to approach relationships expecting them to be short-lived, so I won’t be disappointed if things don’t work out?

    —Joseph 

    Love is one of the areas where prophecies tend to be self-fulfilling. If you approach relationships expecting them not to last, they probably won’t—and vice versa. Relationships aren’t static and they reflect what we invest in them.

    Imagine that you made a deal with your landlord that your lease would be day-to-day. How much time and money would you invest in your home? Would you paint the walls or fix a leaky faucet? Most likely you wouldn’t, and so your pleasure in your home would be limited at best.

    Similarly, if every day you wake up next to your romantic partner and ask yourself, “Should we do this for another day or stop now?” your relationship probably won’t deepen very much. It makes sense to think about the long term, since that is the only way to reap the benefits of commitment.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    Our new downstairs neighbor in our apartment building is bothered by the sound of our toddler son walking on the floors. He keeps banging on his ceiling and walls in an attempt to make us aware of how annoying the noise is. What can we do to make him stop harassing us? We cannot move, and I cannot keep my son from walking on the floors during the daytime.

    —Shannon 

    First, you should invest in some rugs to help reduce the noise. Then you can write to your neighbor and tell him about the effort you’ve made. Finally, invite him over for dinner; this will establish a sense of friendship and make him think twice before pounding on the walls. And be sure to serve alcohol during the dinner, as a way to break the ice and to make everyone friendlier.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:30:26 on 2019-01-05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Picking Presents, Offering Organs, and Hopping Hotels 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I enjoy giving gifts to my best friend, and I was wondering which approach would be better for strengthening our friendship: giving her big gifts twice a year, on her birthday and Christmas, or giving smaller gifts more frequently?

    —Aubrey 

    I suspect that giving smaller but more frequent gifts will do more to reinforce your relationship. The pleasure of receiving a gift lies less in possessing the item itself—which is exciting at first but quickly grows familiar—than in looking forward to it.

    A 1987 study by the pioneering behavioral economist George Loewenstein showed that people were willing to pay more to kiss a movie star when they could wait three days, compared with kissing them immediately; they were willing to pay a premium for the pleasure of looking forward to the kiss.

    Similarly, if you know that on the first of every month you will get a small gift, you can start looking forward to it and so enjoy the gift days before you get it.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    My brother has kidney failure, and the transplant wait list for deceased donors is too long to help him in time. So he’s looking into finding a living donor (unfortunately, my blood type isn’t a match).

    The risks for living donors are minimal, and the average donor experiences no impact on their kidney function or life expectancy. But kidney donation is a major surgery, and it carries costs—time off work, some discomfort and several weeks of recovery.

    What can I do to encourage people to consider becoming living donors?

    —Paul 

    When people think about organ donation in the abstract, they might not be too eager to volunteer. But they are more likely to act if there is an actual person who needs help. So I would start by encouraging people to do the simple part of organ donation, which is to register as a potential donor. Then, if a patient turns out to match with them, the question of whether to donate will be less theoretical—it will be about helping a particular person.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hello, Dan.

    My family recently took a vacation in Greece, where we stayed in expensive five-star hotels. But I kept wondering if I would really have enjoyed the trip less if we had stayed at cheaper places. We are active travelers who are often away from the hotel. During the day we are swimming, hiking, touring ruins, scuba diving or kayaking. How can I can I get my husband to be happy in a less expensive hotel?

    —Patricia 

    I suspect that it will be hard for your husband to enjoy a three-star hotel when he’s used to five-star hotels. What I would do is focus his attention on the activities you would be able to afford as a result of staying in a cheaper hotel. On your next vacation, plan such a day of special activities at the end of the trip, so that it has the best chance at influencing his overall memory of the vacation. You can use that day as an example of what you could afford if you spent less on accommodations.

    And if that doesn’t work, suggest that all of you go camping instead. With roughing it as an alternative, you will most likely end up in a three-star hotel as a compromise.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:26:53 on 2018-11-24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Resentful Recipients, Exciting Exercises, and Ungrateful Guests 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    For many years, I have given elaborate gift baskets to my friends and family for Christmas. Last year I learned that some of them felt the need to reciprocate with a gift of a similar cost, which made them uncomfortable. I give these gifts because I enjoy it and because I love my friends and family, not because I expect anything in return. How can I communicate that it is okay to just send me a Christmas card and nothing more?

    —George 

    It might be impossible for the recipient of a gift not to feel obligated to reciprocate in some way. The need for reciprocity is one of the beautiful things about human nature: It is a building block of society, and we wouldn’t want to eliminate it even if we could. So while you might not need any gifts, I wouldn’t deprive your friends and family of the chance to give you something. Instead, encourage them to find a gift that is meaningful but simple and cheap.

    Last year, when I turned 50, I faced a similar dilemma: I wanted to have a big birthday party and invite my friends, but I didn’t want them to feel any pressure to give me gifts. Even if I had asked them not to bring gifts, however, it’s unlikely people would come empty-handed. Instead, I asked everyone to give me a copy of their favorite book and to write on the first page why it was so important to them. This way, I got a shelf of books to read for the next year, and my friends got to satisfy their urge to reciprocate.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    My husband is 72 years old and recently retired. He goes to the gym about twice a week, but his doctor has told him that physical activity throughout the day is very important for him, since he has hypertension. How can I help him get into the habit of moving around? We are a pretty low-tech family, but should I get him a pedometer so he can track his steps?

    —Florence 

    I don’t think that tracking steps is going to get the job done by itself. Tracking devices operate on the premise that, if we only knew we exercised too little, we would change our behavior. But the truth is that most of us already know we don’t move around enough. If I were you, I would ask family members to encourage your husband to go for walks several times a day. Even better, tell him that you want to go for a walk and suggest that he come with you. That way you will create social pressure on him to get moving.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    We take pride in our home and expect visitors to treat it with respect. But we have a relative who does not share that sentiment: When she visits, she slams doors and spills food without cleaning it up. How can we bring this up to her without causing a rupture in our relationship?

    —Anonymous 

    I would start by telling her that different people have different preferences for how they want their home and possessions to be treated and that you are meticulous about your things. Tell her that while she has the right to treat her own things however she likes, when she is at your place her behavior distracts you and makes it hard to fully enjoy her company. Hopefully this will be sufficiently gentle but still make the point.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:30:11 on 2018-11-10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Floral Futures, Meaningful Memories, and Dating Decisions 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I’m planning my wedding, and my fiancée and I disagree about one major topic—the flowers. All of the options we’ve seen are incredibly expensive, and I’m just not comfortable spending so much money on something that’s only going to last a day or two. But my fiancée feels the wedding wouldn’t be complete without flower arrangements at every table. Is there any way I can change her mind?

    —Kevin 

    If I were you, I wouldn’t attack the cost of the flowers but their symbolic meaning. In your fiancee’s mind, flowers probably represent youth, beauty and nature—all wonderful things to have represented at a wedding. On the other hand, you could argue that flowers are also symbolic of transitoriness—something that is here today but will wilt tomorrow. Why not try telling her that you don’t want a symbol of something short-lived in your wedding? Instead, try to convince your fiancée to spend it on something long lasting such as furniture or a new convertible.. That way, you’ll be spending money on things that are symbolic of your long future together.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    My dog lived to be 14 years old, but the last six months of his life were really hard. This only amounted to about 3% of his time with me, but when I think about him now, it’s his bad last days that I remember most vividly, not the healthy and happy years we had together. Why is this?

    —Jeremy 

    Psychologists have found that our memories of an experience are strongly influenced by the way it ends—the last day of a vacation, the last scene of a movie. So it’s no wonder that your memories of your dog are colored by the end of his life. I’d suggest that you try to give yourself a new ending to focus on. Write down your good memories about your dog, ask friends to add their own stories and then spend some time just going over these positive memories. They’ll become the new conclusion of your dog’s story.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I have been using the dating app Tinder for a while. When I’m swiping right and left it’s fun, and exchanging texts with potential dates is enjoyable, but when we meet face to face, it’s often immediately clear that things are not going to go anywhere. Then I just try to count the minutes until I can politely say goodbye. What can I do to end a first date quickly but politely? And when a date does look promising, how can I be sure that we are really going to be compatible?

    —Andrea

    The answer to both questions is the same: Combine the date with an errand! Arrange to meet your date at a coffee shop near a supermarket. After ten minutes of having coffee together, suggest that you continue your date while shopping and take out your shopping list. That way, if the date is going nowhere, at least you are multitasking and making better use of your time. And if the date is going well, research shows that doing an activity together tells you more about compatibility than just interviewing one another in a coffee shop.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:29 on 2018-10-27 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Punctual Pals, Valuable Voters, and Empowered Employees 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I have a dear friend who is always late. I love spending time with him, but I can’t help feeling miffed when I’m kept waiting at a noisy bar, twiddling my thumbs and checking my watch. He often turns up after a half hour with an elaborate excuse about the subway system or a snafu with his dog. His wonderful company usually makes me forgive him, but this pattern of wasting my time is really frustrating. What can I do?

    —Charles 

    Unfortunately, waiting around for your friend to show up is probably reinforcing his behavior. I would suggest setting a strict deadline and sticking to it, though this might cause some friction initially. When you make an appointment, warn your friend that you are only going to wait for 10 minutes; if he doesn’t show up by then, leave. Over time, this should teach your friend to be more punctual, which will help his relationship with you—and maybe with others as well.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    Many of my friends and coworkers say they care about voting, but their spotty track record suggests otherwise. How can I convince them to go out and vote in the upcoming election?

    —Georgia 

    My guess is that your friends are not lying to you—they do care about voting, and they may even plan to vote. But on Election Day, they get derailed by other obligations. To change their priorities, I would try to make the voting process a social event. Invite your friends and coworkers to meet at a bar or restaurant near the polling place, and when they show up, tell them that you’re buying beer only for people who have already voted. Encourage them to go to the polls in small groups and come back quickly. By combining fun and personal accountability, you’ll make voting much more compelling.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I work for a tech company, and our performance reviews are coming up soon. The reviews are used to determine who will get a bonus. Unfortunately, my performance is usually in the middle of the pack, and I have yet to receive a bonus. I understand the logic for giving bonuses to the most productive employees, but I can’t help feeling disappointed, and my motivation is suffering—which makes my chances of getting a bonus even lower. Do you think that bonuses are a good way of motivating employees?

    —Kayla 

    Bonuses are a more complex topic than most people think, and it’s certainly not the case that they always lead to better performance. A few years ago, my colleagues and I worked with a large company that gave its top employees weekly bonuses, which could make up as much as 30% of their income. Obviously, the good employees got the bonuses week after week, while the not-so-good employees got nothing.

    By changing the way that performance was calculated, we enabled average employees to earn bonuses from time to time. The result was that the company’s overall productivity increased. Why? Because the motivation of middle-of-the-road employees makes a meaningful contribution to the bottom line. A good incentive system has to take into account the fact that feeling valued and acknowledged is important to everyone.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:14 on 2018-09-29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , wall street journal,   

    Ask Ariely: On Green Groceries, Party Presents, and Reluctant Reviews 


    Warning: preg_match_all(): Compilation failed: invalid range in character class at offset 7 in /homepages/23/d339537987/htdocs/pb/wp-content/themes/p2/inc/mentions.php on line 77

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi Dan.

    My wife is pretty involved with green initiatives—in particular, reducing plastic waste. She tries to get bars and restaurants to stop offering plastic straws, she purchases products that do not use plastic packages, and once a month we volunteer to clean up trash in public spaces. So I’m baffled that she doesn’t have the same reaction to wasting food. When it’s her turn to go grocery shopping, she always brings home such an excess of fruits and vegetables that many of them rot before we have a chance to eat them. We’ve had many conversations about this, but nothing has worked so far. What can I do?

    —Diégo 

    It is often the case that when we care a lot about one thing, we focus on it to the exclusion of other priorities. So don’t take your wife’s behavior too personally, and don’t try repeatedly to educate her about it. Instead, why don’t you simply help by making a shopping list? When we go shopping with a shopping list we are likely to stick to it. If you write down the specific amount of needed fruits and vegetables, the odds are that the waste problem will be solved.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    My son Joey is turning one year old, and we’re throwing a birthday party for him. People usually give toys on such occasions, but I’d like to ask them to give him money instead. How can I do this without seeming rude?

    —Felipe 

    It’s always tricky to use a social occasion to ask people for money. To sweeten the pill, I would ask people to donate toward a specific goal. For example, what if you told your guests that you want to open a college savings account for Joey? You could ask them not just to give money but also to write down advice for him to read when he goes to college. Ask your guests to write their messages in a book that you can give to Joey when he turns 18.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I have several friends who have self-published books on Amazon. After reading the books, I am usually aghast at the poor quality of the writing, and sometimes there is even a gross twisting of the truth in the retelling of a life experience that I have seen firsthand. Even so, I try to say something positive—without getting into too many details—but then my friends ask me to submit an online review, to go along with all the other five-star reviews they somehow managed to get. I care about my friends, but I also don’t want to give a false recommendation. How would you handle this conflict?

    —Jerry 

    Life is full of situations where we are asked to trade our integrity for other interests, such as sparing the feelings of a friend. But once we start giving up our integrity, it is a slippery slope: We are likely to do it more and more until at some point we stop feeling bad about it. What does this mean in your case? Writing a positive review of a book you don’t like may seem like a one-time sacrifice of honesty for the sake of friendship. But given that your long-term integrity is also on the line, I would not give it up. Gently decline your friend’s request for a review—but do keep on investing in your friendship.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel